Roasted Red Pepper and Tomato Soup

This soup is packed with flavour and makes a great winter-warming lunch served with crusty bread.

Serves 4
Ready in 1 hour 15 minutes

750g large ripe tomatoes
4 red peppers
4 shallots, peeled and halved
2 garlic cloves
2 tbsp virgin olive oil
1 tbsp dried Italian herbs
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 tbsp sun-dried tomato puree
400ml vegetable stock
1 tsp sugar
Crème fraiche, roasted pumpkin seeds and shredded fresh basil leaves, to serve

1   Preheat the oven to 200C, 180C fan, gas mark 6.  Score a cross in the top and base of each tomato and place in the roasting tin with the peppers, shallots, garlic cloves, olive oil and Italian herbs. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper and roast for 25-30 minutes until the tomatoes are soft with charred, peeling skins and the peppers have blistered and blackened skins.

2   Carefully place the hot peppers in a large freezer bag and leave until cool enough to handle (this will help to make peeling them easier). Leave the tomatoes and shallots to cool in the roasting tin.

3   Peel the peppers, discarding the seeds and pith, and remove the skins and any tough core from the tomatoes.  Place both in a food processor or blender with the shallots and any juices from the roasting tin. Process until very smooth – you may need to do this in two batches.

4   Transfer the pepper and tomato mixture to a large pan and stir in the sun-dried tomato puree, vegetable stock and sugar. Slowly bring to the boil then simmer for 5 minutes. Taste and adjust the seasoning, to taste.

5   Ladle the soup into warmed bowls, top with a swirl of crème fraiche and some pumpkin seeds and basil.


To make crunchy roast pumpkin seeds, spread them on a baking sheet and roast in the oven with the tomatoes and peppers for 7-8 minutes.